Creative Child

How to Motivate Kids Without Yelling

by Sarah Lyons

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Give a warning

There are times when simply giving your child a warning can save us from an argument later. Calmly saying “We are leaving the park in 5 minutes.” or “Please stop screaming or you will have a time out.” gives your child a chance to prepare themselves and make a choice of how to respond. When the time comes to leave the park or give a time out, follow through on your warning. If you give multiple chances or end up staying at the park another 20 minutes, your child will not take your warnings seriously in the future and you may find yourself frustrated and yelling once again. “Consistency is key in your children knowing that the rules have meaning and consistent consequences for breaking them.” says Thomas.

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Ask for help

One way to avoid yelling is to ask your child to help you solve the problem you are faced with. If you are expecting company and the house is a mess, you could yell at the kids to clean up their rooms or you could present the situation as a problem that you need help solving. “Our friends are coming over in 30 minutes and there are toys all over the floor. What should we do?” You may find that when it is presented this way your child will come up with the solution that you were wanting in the first place, they will pick up their toys and you won’t even need to yell at them.  If they don’t come up with the solution that you were looking for, make sure to tell them what you need from them and give them clear guidelines on what you expect to happen.

Be understanding

As parents, we often forget that our kids are just that - kids. There behavior is not going to be perfect or rational all the time. They may have something going on that they haven’t shared with you, they may be overtired, or they may be frustrated or worried. All of these things can cause them to act out or forget to do what is expected of them. Try to be understanding, validate their feelings, and listen to what they have going on at school or with friends and siblings. Simply talking about their feelings and strengthening your relationship with them will help motivate them to listen and obey you in the future.

Everyone makes mistakes, even mom and dad, and we will occasionally yell at each other. The key is to try to discipline in a positive and calm way. Our kids will follow our lead as they face conflict and frustrations.

Sarah Lyons is a stay at home wife and mother of six children, including 18 month old triplets. Using creative consequences with her kids has improved their behavior and encourages healthy relationships with each other.

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